- WASHINGTON (SAPA-AP) -- A
survey of American troops in Iraq by the military newspaper Stars And Stripes
has found that nearly three-quarters of those questioned said unit morale
was low or average, and that nearly half did not plan to re-enlist.
- The survey, published in the Wednesday edition of the
paper, is part of a seven-part series on troop morale and re-enlistment
problems in Iraq.
- The Stars And Stripes is Pentagon-funded newspaper published
by civilians - often former military officers - with some military personnel
also working on staff.
- Among the findings:
- About 34 percent of those surveyed said morale was low
or very low, 27 percent said it was high or very high, and the rest said
it was average. Morale levels however varied considerably - reservists
ranked morale as lowest, while Air Force and Marine units largely considered
their morale high.
- Many Reserve and National Guard respondents said they
often felt like second-class soldiers who received lesser quality equipment,
support and treatment than their full-time comrades.
- Air Force bases and food services were markedly better
than those for army units, and army soldiers who saw those sites said the
division undercut morale and teamwork.
- Nearly half of those surveyed said they do not plan to
re-enlist. Military leaders told the paper that enlistment rates historically
drop after conflicts, and overall military re-enlistment appears fine,
according to the Pentagon.
- More than one-third said that their mission was "not
clearly" or "not at all" defined. Reservists had the most
complaints in this category, the newspaper found, while Air Force and Marine
respondents had the least complaints.
- When asked how worthwhile the invasion of Iraq was for
the United States, 67 percent agreed that it was "worthwhile,"
while 31 percent said it was of little or no value.
- The survey was based on a standard list of 17 questions
the newspaper presented to 1 935 US soldiers in Iraq over a three-week
period in August. Reporters visited 50 US military camps in northern, central
and southern Iraq, interviewing soldiers and collecting survey answers.
- "The results can't be projected onto the entire
military population in Iraq, but the returns were impressive," according
to the newspaper.
- The Stars And Stripes began as a military newspaper during
the American Civil War in the early 1860s. It was published again in World
War I, and has been published continuousy since 1942. - Sapa-AFP